Shubhankar Sharma returns to PGTI after a year

Shubhankar Sharma will be the star attraction when he returns to PGTI action after a year at the Eagleton Golf Resort in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

Shubhankar endured a challenging 2019 on the European Tour, managing only two top-10 finishes. [File photo]   -  GETTY IMAGES

Shubhankar Sharma will be the star attraction when he returns to PGTI action after a year at the Eagleton Golf Resort here on Tuesday. The second-highest ranked Indian in the world (264) will be the cynosure of all eyes at the TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship, as he battles Asian Tour regulars Chikkarangappa, Khalin Joshi, Viraj Madappa and Aman Raj.

“I had three weeks off so I thought competing this week would give me good practice for the European Tour events ahead," Shubhankar said. "I’ve recently been working on a lot of things with my coach and playing a tournament is the best way to put those changes into practice and test yourself. There’s also no better place to find my form than my home tour."

Shubhankar is, incidentally, the defending champion, having won the previous edition of the event at the same venue back in 2016. "I have good memories of my win here, when I shot a 24-under total," he said. “I’m extremely happy to be back home and playing alongside some of my friends."

Shubhankar endured a challenging 2019 on the European Tour, managing only two top-10 finishes. "It was an up and down season for me," the 23-year-old admitted, "but I managed to find some form towards the end with a couple of top-10s (Italian Open and Turkish Airlines Open). The experience has been invaluable and it has made me a better player."

The former Indian hockey captain Dilip Tirkey is also part of the field, playing his second event as a professional. The three-time Olympian had last month played the PGTI Qualifying School in Ahmedabad.

A prize purse of Rs.30 lakh is on offer.